We’ve asked some of our Brightlink Chartered Institute of Legal Executive learners past and present to share their stories to inform, encourage and inspire others who may be interested in a career in law. We’ll be featuring them on our website and social media in a series called ‘My Legal Career.’ Here is Holly Turner’s story.
Where, how and why it all began
I am currently a paralegal, working as a contract specialist in Bristol, UK. I work in a corporate organisation which provides services to an impressive client base, including big name brands and international businesses.
I came to the study of law because my employer advised me that I should apply for a Paralegal Apprenticeship. I started that in 2019 then had to take time out due to family circumstances, so I am now studying by myself with Brightlink.
I began working in the legal sector initially just because I needed a job as I’d just moved from France, by myself, and had no plan of any description. Once I started doing admin within the law firm, I realised I was more interested in what went on throughout the firm, so I asked how I could get into a case handling role, I then realised that this is something I want to do. As a child I had dreamed of becoming a lawyer, but with no real thought behind it as I was adamant I didn’t want to go to university.
I wasn’t sure I wanted to become a lawyer until I had started working within the legal sector at the age of 19 and realised I love the job, rapport with clients, making a difference, whether small or big, helping my clients is very rewarding.
The journey so far
I worked in a law firm for 1 ½ years before starting CILEx, started off in an admin team, then went into a trainee paralegal role in Personal Injury, shortly after that I got promoted to paralegal, still within the same firm. I am now in a more corporate firm using my language skills as a contract specialist. I should receive my Certificate in Law and Practice Level 3 in May 2021. I’m getting there, but at my own pace, which is great when you have a full-time job and still want a social life!
The challenges and how I meet them head on
Sometimes, more so closer to exams, when having a fairly demanding and stressful time at work, it’s difficult to get motivated to study straight after your shift ends.
I keep reminding myself that what I have already achieved is amazing, and I can pause my studying if I ever felt the need to, there’s no pressure to finish straight away, that’s the best thing about CILEx.
After starting my apprenticeship, I had a lot of family issues to deal with, I therefore made the decision to quit my job, and put CILEx on hold until things settled, which is something anyone can do, at any point in the course. It made things that little bit easier for me. As soon as things were better, I picked up Contract Law, sat the exam, got a new job, and things are going just fine now. But knowing that CILEx is still there if we need a break, mentally or physically, is a great help.
My best bits and personal wins
I think going from a 19 year old, shy girl who did a bit of admin in a law firm to a 22 year old young woman, who now gets her own clients, much more responsibility and getting rewarded for the work you’ve achieved is amazing. The fact that I still enjoy learning about the law and want to keep going, I’d say, is a personal win, especially after so many personal setbacks. I’m proud to be where I am now.
I was advised, put your heart and soul into the job. Enjoy it and just keep going!
I would definitely advise anyone else looking for a career in law to consider an apprenticeship and know that there are more options than simply going to law school. If you want to be earning, and gaining experience from a young age, by the time you finish CILEx you’ll already have a few years under the belt, and I think employers love that!
I’m hoping within the next 12 months to have completed my Diploma Level 3 and would really love to go into Wills and Probate work, so within the next 12 months I’d like to progress to that.
I’m looking forward to becoming a Chartered Legal Executive, but I’m also looking forward to all the modules I have left, you don’t realise you like learning until you stop for a bit!